Newsletter 31 January

Reflections from Jonathan

This week we reach the “end of the beginning” in the account of Jesus’ coming into the world.  A census has been called and everyone is summoned to their birth place to be registered.  

Joseph and Mary, expecting a baby, have to make the chilly and dark journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  The dusty and rocky roads are crowded and people scramble to get ahead.  The “no vacancies” signs are everywhere and the outhouse stable is perhaps the last place they want to be.

“Hands, Face, Space” was probably not a slogan in use through the dark night that brought the sight and sound of the angels to the stable on the street!

Through the pre-Christmas scramble of December 2020 we will recall the road, ferry and air urgency to get home quickly.  Many succeeded but some didn’t make it – family members were separated, anxious and disappointed.  Not so different for the holy family except being without the internet!

Amazingly a son was safely born and Mary, Joseph and Jesus travel on to Jerusalem.  

There is little time to waste, Joseph needs to back in his carpenter’s shop. The family head on up the steep roads to the city and the temple.  According to the Jewish religious law purification rites must take place on the eighth day after birth. How do you find a “holy man” when you need one?  Not a problem when Simeon and also Anna are almost resident in the Temple. They have been waiting all their lives for this moment and burst into praise.  The ancient promises have been fulfilled. It will be another twelve years before the next chapter of the story will be written and revealed.”

Song to Inspire and Encourage


Joy Comes In the Morning – Song lyrics, By Bill and Gloria Gaither

If you’ve knelt beside the rubble of an aching broken heart
When the things you gave your life to fell apart
You’re not the first to be acquainted with sorrow, grief or pain
But the master promised sunshine after rain

Hold on my child joy comes in the morning
Weeping only last for the night
Hold on my child Joy comes in the morning
The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight

To invest your seeds of trust in God in mountains you can’t move
You have risked your life on things you cannot prove
But to give the things you cannot keep for what you cannot lose
Now, that’s the way to find the joy God has for you

Hold on my child joy comes in the morning
Weeping only last for the night
Hold on my child Joy comes in the morning
The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight
Yes, The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight It’s just in sight


St Mary’s News

Call to Prayer

This link is to a letter from the Archbishop which is a call to prayer.  This is a response to the milestone of 100,000 deaths.  Please do take a moment to read this.  It is also attached.


Bishop’s Sermon

This week would have seen Rev Matthew Parker, who we know well as our previous Archdeacon, installed as the Episcopal Bishop of Stafford.  Due to the current circumstances this has been done virtually with the full celebration to happen at a later date.  His first sermon as Bishop is attached as a PDF but if you prefer alternative formats you can download here –  



As we would have been celebrating Candlemas this weekend Rev Sue has produced an order of service for us to follow at home.  It is attached for you.  You could use this on Sunday morning, or on the day itself – 2nd February.   Click here for the service


Zoom Chat

Watch out for an email with a further invite. Time and date to be confirmed.


Bible Reading Notes

Jonathan will be posting the latest UCB notes out in the next few days.



There are a few funerals coming up.  Please remember these families in your prayers. 

  • Thursday 4 February, 10.15 am – Joyce Lilian Jackson, St Mary’s and Silverdale cemetery
  • Friday 5 February, 11.00 am – Michael Flynn, St Mary’s and Bradwell

Numbers remain restricted so if you were thinking of attending any of these please check with Jonathan for advice.


Other Resources

Lichfield Cathedral are are broadcasting virtual services.  The details are here – TOGETHER IN WORSHIP – Lichfield Cathedral (  along with lots of useful links.

Other Churches are streaming worship can be found at – A Church Near You

Church of England has services on line to watch and devotionals to download.  These are available at: Welcome to the Church of England’s official website | The Church of England


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